It can be tough to eat right all the time. We want to reach for the fries, or the burger, or the doughnut. Or all of the above. But a proper diet really does have insane health benefits.
What’s considered “healthy eating” is always a source of debate, but it’s not actually that complicated: Nutritionists can agree that a diet rich in whole foods, with lots of fruits and vegetables, seafood, whole grains, dairy, legumes, and nuts is good for you. Processed foods and added sugar are generally a bad idea.
To motivate you to put down the cupcake and pick up the broccoli, here are 17 research-backed reasons to eat healthy:
Eating right could reduce your risk for some cancers. Multiple studies have found a diet high in fruits and vegetables could help prevent the disease.
A healthy diet could make your skin glow. Carbohydrate-rich foods with high glycemic index (meaning they quickly increase your blood sugar) could contribute to acne, studies have found.
It’ll save you money. A large study found unhealthy diets full of processed foods cost $1.50 more a day than healthy ones full of whole foods.
Eating right could improve men’s fertility. A Mediterranean diet is associated with an increased sperm count, and obese men tend to have fewer, more abnormal sperm.
A well-balanced diet could improve your mood. People who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to report better mental health in studies.
Eating right could boost your energy and enhance your athletic performance.
A healthy diet could reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, which is preventable with diet and exercise.
It could extend your life. People who eat well tend to live longer, and they have fewer health complications so they enjoy the extra time.
Eating right could protect your memory. Studies have found people who follow healthy diets are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Many studies have shown that eating a healthy diet could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
Eating a healthy diet, especially including calcium and vitamin D, could reduce your risk for osteoporosis and bone loss.
A healthy diet could lower your blood pressure; multiple studies have found.
A major review of nutrition research found that a healthy diet can improve how long and how well you sleep.
Keeping bad fats-mostly trans fats but some saturated fats, too out of your diet could help lower your cholesterol.
You could reduce your risk of getting kidney stones with a healthy diet, studies have found.
A healthy diet could boost your immunity and help keep you from getting sick.
Eating right is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Don’t forget to exercise and get a good night sleep, too!